Initiative of the United National Movement assessed positively by Georgian Opposition Parties.

An initiative from the governing United National Movement ahead of next October’s parliamentary elections in Georgia has been broadly welcomed by a number of opposition parties.

The initiative follows incidents in which supporters of government and opposition clashed in several areas of Georgia during activities of the Georgian Dream opposition coalition. The UNM has proposed that all parties sign a four point code of conduct, which says that despite having substantial difference on many issues signatory political parties “recognise the decisive importance of free, fair and peaceful electoral process for the country’s further democratic development.”

  • “We reject violence in the electoral campaign process, obstructing campaign and rallies of other parties, including through mobilizing own activists and arranging parallel rallies. We reject aggression while meetings and communicating with voters. We reject calls for violence and use of hate speech in respect of minority-related issues. We are ready to conduct an electoral campaign oriented towards issue-based discussions,”
  • “We reject vote-buying,”
  • “We are ready to be in steadfast observance of recommendations from the Central Election Commission, non-governmental organizations and Inter-Agency Task Force for Free and Fair Elections in respect of restricting use of administrative resources,”
  • “We take responsibility to recognize election results, summarized by the Central Election Commission and deemed legitimate by observer organizations with credible reputation.”

Reporting the initiative the Georgian web portal said that some political parties, including Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and New Rights have said they would join the declaration.

The Georgian Dream opposition coalition said it has yet to discuss the proposal. A coalition spokesperson Manana Kobakhidze, said that the principles outlined in the document were in overall acceptable, but a thorough consideration was required especially in respect of the fourth point of declaration.

The initiative of the UNM followed an incident in the village of Karaleti where members of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition who were campaigning in the area were attached. In the scuffles that followed several people were injured including a number of journalists.

Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia the Second, in a Sunday sermon condemned the incident in the village of Karaleti and hoped that Georgians will not throw stones at each other. The Patriarch said that throwing mud at each other was unacceptable, but this week he heard that worse things happened and people were throwing stones at each other.

The Patriarch appealed to government and opposition, party members and common citizens not to repeat incidents.

“You can meet, talk, debate, but not beat each other, especially throw stones and threaten with weapons”, the Patriarch said, underscoring that enemies of Georgia want to see tense situation between Georgians. Ilia the Second hoped that such thing will not happen.